Punta Sur

5 Dec

(Written by Chantel Rompfer, Guest Author)

With the thermometer on its way to hit +30 celsius, we listened to Bob Marley croon over the Gulf speakers as we hit the highway to Punta Sur.  “Don`t worry…about a thing…everything…is going to be alright…”  Punta Sur was our destination – we had come across it on our island cruise the day before, and our interest was piqued.   An ecological park?  With snorkeling?  And crocodiles?  Bring it on!

At the park entrance, we encountered a Senor who could speak better French than we could!  Once he heard we were Canadians, he tested our French and lost us after “Ca va bien?”   After admitting we had no idea what he was saying, he laughed and decided to give us the family discount.  Paul and Tim were the parents, and Liz and I were the hot granddaughters.  After a round of “Muchos Gracias”, we drove into Punta Sur.

Tim was driving the Gulf, and he had to bust out his “off roading” skills to manoeuver around the hidden potholes of the road.  Meanwhile, the rest of us were hanging out the window with our cameras in tow, ready to see a random lizard or crocodile.   Our first stop was the Crocodile Zone, where we all stopped to take pictures of the “Crocodile Zone” sign (Zona de Cocodrilos in Spanish).  Imagine a walkway made of wood, leading into a swamp, with a large watch tower at the end.  As we stood on the end of the walkway, we noticed a few birds that looked like bright pink pelicans on an island in the swamp.  We were lucky enough to see one fly close to us, and as typical nature lovers, all of us whipped out the cameras to get beautiful pictures of the bird.   Tim’s eyesight was keen, and he spotted a crocodile just a few meters away from where we were standing.  His body was submerged and only his eyes sat on top of the water, but once we spotted it, it started to slowly swim towards us.  It was a small crocodile, but I still wanted to take it home and call it “Roger”.   Liz and I decided to be adventurous and climb the watch tower, which was about 4 stories tall.  The steps were steep, and Liz and I had to hold on to the bannister made of wood as the wind whipped around us as we climbed higher.   The climb was worth it because we were able to take a picture of Tim, Paul, and our crocodile named Roger.  Also, it was incredible to see the land in front of us.  On our right side was jungle and swamp, and on our left side was the beautiful ocean and beaches.   After spotting a few more birds and fish species, we went back to the car to continue our adventure. 

Along our path we stopped to see the Mayan ruins of a Mayan lighthouse and the Sea Turtle camp, where the sea turtles come in to nest in the summer.   We headed to the beach, but before we got there, we had to drive through both the “Low Forest” and the “Medium Forest”.   This meant dodging Rogers (lizards) that were sunning themselves on the road.  In essence, we were “Roger Dodging”. 

Once we hit the beach, we had a few minutes to get to the boat that was going to take us through the swamp in hopes of spotting more fauna (crocodiles and birds).  We were accompanied by a couple from southern Utah (in a town close to Arizona, which they described as the “Dixie of Utah”).  This couple was retired and very interested in bird watching.  A Spanish couple with their daughter rounded out the group on the boat.  Our tour guide was Santos, and he was gracious in providing a detailed description of the swamp while also fielding the continual questions from the bird watchers.  Such questions included “Is that the great white heron or the white ibis?” or “Is that a alligator or a crocodile?”  While I jest, the bird watchers were in fact a great companions because they asked very detailed questions and allowed us to learn quite a bit.  The highlights included seeing many different types of birds on their nests, seeing a large crocodile on a beach that swamp towards us and was right at the boat (while Tim dangled dangerously over the boat edge towards the croc while Liz and I gasped in horror), and seeing the entrance of where the ocean met the swamp.  The swamp was brackish water, and the entrance to the ocean held bright blue water that mixed with the brownish water of the swamp.  Santos explained that the water of the swamp was clear now, but in the summer the Mangrove trees released nutrients into the water, which turns it chocolate colored.  The nutrients build plankton, and during the rainy season, the tides pull out the chocolate water into the ocean and help feed the coral reefs.  It was an amazing boat tour, and it is highly recommended by us!

After the tour, we were on our way to the beach for snorkeling.  First we stopped at the beach side restaurant and had some amazing pina coladas and chicken fajitas.   We talked to Santos, who recommended a snorkel route so that we could snorkel along the coral reef.  We walked down the beach, found a location to start, and hit the ocean!  At first it was sandy water, but it slowly cleared the farther we headed out.  Soon we hit upon a coral reef, which we snorkled above and followed along for most of our snorkel trip.  We saw sting rays, angel fish, large fish bigger than our heads, and other fishy species that lived in the coral.  There was a jungle of fan coral, which was a home for fish that were bright indigo blue, orange, and pink.  Tim, Paul, Liz, and I make a good snorkeling team because we always have each other in our sights.  Paul and I were in our element as we had brought our underwater cameras and were taking pictures to document our adventure.  We were almost done our trip and ready to go back in as the beach closed soon, and so we followed the coral reef a bit more.  All of sudden, Tim pointed excitedly underwater and we all looked forward.  Paul and I were in our picture taking glory as we realized we were swimming with a sea turtle.  He was huge!  He swam with us!  Tim swam closer to the turtle, and Liz was so happy as this was the one thing she wanted to see while snorkeling.  It was a perfect snorkel moment….the four of us swimming along with a sea turtle…in the beautiful blue ocean.

We then had to head in, so we fought the current to get back to shore.  Our legs were shaking from the long swim against the current, but that did not bring down our excitement of seeing the sea turtle!  After a quick shower to get the baby powder fine sand off of us, we then hit the Gulf and drove back to the lighthouse for some more touristy type moments.  The light house was tall, and we had to sign a waiver to even start to climb the steps.  The staircase was narrow, and at the top the ceiling dropped so we had to crawl up the steps, but we made it to the top.  Our legs were definitely shaking after that climb!  It was amazing to see the land below us, meeting the ocean….words are difficult to describe just how unique and beautiful the land of Cozumel.  We trekked down the steep stairs and visited the museum, where we learned the history of Cozumel and the lighthouse.  Interesting fact – Cozumel was an island that the Mayans went to in order to procreate.  (Insert 70s porn music here…)

We took a few pictures in front of the ocean spray, and then wearily climbed into the Gulf and headed home.  We changed and headed to El Moro, which was a palate extravaganza and highly recommended.  We all ate so much food, but it was so damned good.  We ended the night with some cervasas and good food to celebrate our adventures at Punta Sur.

Thanks for listening!  This is your guest author, signing out! 

Blue Heron

 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Mayan lighthouse.

 

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4 Responses to “Punta Sur”

  1. Daryl December 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    Great Blog today !
    Gotta love Punta Sur on a Sunday .

    • Cozumel-O-Muerte December 6, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks Daryl! It was a great time, too bad you guys were not here to enjoy it… Only a couple more weeks, EH?

  2. Janis December 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Helloooo Guest Author and friends that I miss so much out there in Cozumel Land! Really enjoyed the Blog today – as I do every day! This is my lunch break guilty pleasure! Sounds like you had some great adventures again today. “Roger”….you crack me up! Good work! See you in a few days!

    • Cozumel-O-Muerte December 6, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

      Hey Janis! Thanks for reading my guest author entry. Right now we are drinking 40s of beer after a good day of beaches and beer. See you soon! FROM Chantel

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